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Author Topic: Internal vs. External  (Read 490 times) Average Rating: 0
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android
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« on: November 11, 2009, 11:06:43 AM »

Okay, so I haven't thought this through completely (this being an internet message board), but the concept has been swirling around in my head for some time. So, forgive me for the (perhaps) imprecise, overly generalized manner of communicating this.

Let's say you can break down the virtues/sins/acts, etc. in terms of external and internal.  You could also use public vs personal or words to similar effect. For example, there are those virtues/sins which directly implicate how your conduct/actions relates to someone else, and those which directly implicate your own soul and internal spiritual health.  Granted, it is all integrally related (feeding the poor impacts your spiritual health) but I think you know what I mean.

Now, what if you struggle with your personal thoughts/demons, you try to fast but are inconsistent, perhaps lack in self control, are a bit vain, like money a bit too much, etc. but you really try (and do), when it comes to how you "meet the world" and others to feed the poor, be merciful and so forth.

Ignoring the fact that it is hard (impossible) to truly separate these matters into 2 discrete boxes, I think you get my drift.

Can you "make up" for your internal shortcomings by giving alms, feeding the hungry, being charitable, being kind to others as Jesus commanded? 

I was thinking about this in terms of some folks I've known (one in particular who died this week very suddenly) who seemed to have many personal shortcomings (seemed to be a functioning alcoholic, for example) of which people were aware, but he nonetheless was gracious and loving towards others. I'M NOT speculating about this person's salvation, but it illustrates my point that sometimes people can be seriously flawed internally, but perhaps make up for it in other areas.

I don't have a specific question, but I'm interested in any thoughts you (pl.) may have by the issues presented, particularly in the context of salvation.
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Asteriktos
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 07:08:29 PM »

Well, I don't have too much to say, other than these passages came to mind...

"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." - James 5:19-20

"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." - Prov. 10:12

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." - 1 Pet. 4:8

"Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much" - Lk. 7:47

These verses may not all directly cover your questions, but again, they're just what came to mind. So there they are, for whatever they're worth.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 07:09:23 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2009, 07:12:31 PM »

Well, I don't have too much to say, other than these passages came to mind...

"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." - James 5:19-20

"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." - Prov. 10:12

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." - 1 Pet. 4:8

"Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much" - Lk. 7:47

Excellent answer!
Especially coming from someone who is "not Orthodox". Wink
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 07:15:16 PM »

I think Asteriktos answered very well: no matter how much your internal demons are tormenting you, you do good when you treat others with love, feed the hungry, console the grieving, give alms, etc. Love covers a multitude of sins.

It still does not mean, of course, that you should just give up on fighting your inner demons and merely concentrate on charity projects. But, I guess, when you love your neighbor and are actively working on something that helps your neighbor, this work of love becomes a part of your struggle with your inner passion or sin.
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android
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 02:23:20 PM »

Thanks, esp. to Asteriktos for the scriptural references!
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